The National Black Justice Coalition, an LGBT advocacy organization, and the Albert Shanker Institute, which advocates for public education and labor issues, announced last week that they are joining forces to create an educational fellowship named after the late civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, who was gay.
Both organizations are based in D.C.
The two groups announced the launching of the new fellowship during a tribute to Rustin held at D.C.’s Lincoln Theater during the week of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, of which Rustin was the lead organizer.
“The most fitting tribute to the late Bayard Rustin is the continuation of his life’s work,” a joint statement released by NBJC and the Shanker Institute says.
“Bayard Rustin was a tireless activist, an unrivaled organizer, an extraordinary strategic thinker and a powerful advocate in struggles for human rights and economic justice,” the statement says. “His involvement in these struggles read like a roll call of 20th century historical milestones on America’s ‘freedom road,’” which the statement says includes “the fight for full civil rights for the LGBT community.”
Among other things, the statement says the Rustin Fellowship will focus on research, policy development and advocacy in the field of public education, with a concentration on three subject areas:
• the elimination of discrimination and bullying against students based on “race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation and gender expression”
• the development of educational programs that support “respect and tolerance for cultural and social difference among students”
• the “promotion of the full integration of American schools so that they will reflect and promote the full diversity of our society.”
NBJC spokesperson Michael Brewer said additional details about the fellowship, including information on who may be eligible to apply for the fellowship and who will select candidates for the Rustin Fellowship, were expected to be announced in November.
The statement released last week says those interested in making a tax-exempt donation to help fund the fellowship could so by contacting the Shanker Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org.